Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A TIMELESS ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY: Silver Bells




ABOUT THE BOOK

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells. Readers will love this collection of six historical novellas, all centered around the Christmas season with one thing in common: Romance.

In NY Times & USA Today’s bestselling author Lucinda Brant’s delightful novella, FAIRY CHRISTMAS, Kitty Aldershot is orphaned and forced to live on others’ charity. Offered a home under the generous roof of her relatives, the Earl of Salt Hendon and his countess, Kitty wants for nothing, not even the affections of Mr. Tom Allenby. But when Kitty stumbles across a letter written by Lady Caroline that reveals how Mr. Allenby would be ruined should he marry the likes of Kitty, she realizes she has been fooling herself all along. Kitty’s world crumbles around her as she recognizes she will forever be alone with no prospects at all.

Sarah M. Eden’s charming romance novella A CHRISTMAS PROMISE, Sean Kirkpatrick is trying to get to his new place of employment, Kilkenny Castle, in order to start as the new stablehand. His only requirement is to drive a team of high-spirited nags from Dublin to Kilkenny in a certain amount of time. Unfortunately he winds up in a muddy field, stuck, lost, and running out of time. He’s about to lose the job before he can prove himself capable of finishing his first assignment. When Maeve Butler arrives on the scene, Sean isn’t sure if she’s intent on rescuing him or bent on torturing him with her fiery wit and lovely dark eyes.

In Heather B. Moore’s enchanting novella, TWELVE MONTHS, Lucien Baxter’s best and most incorrigible friend, Will, dies unexpectedly, leaving behind his new bride and unborn child the week before Christmas. Will’s last request is that Lucien watches over Cora, not just as a benefactor, but as a husband. When Lucien does his duty and proposes to Cora, he’s turned down flat. But over the course of the next few days, Lucien discovers that marrying Cora wouldn’t be any sort of duty after all, but a matter of following his heart.

In Lu Ann Staheli’s sweet romance novella, A FEZZIWIG CHRISTMAS, Dick Wilkins and his best friend Ebenezer Scrooge have been looking forward to the annual Fezziwig Christmas dance for weeks. Ebenezer is practically engaged to Annabelle Fezziwig, and Dick hopes to start courting her younger sister, Pricilla. Once the dance starts, and Pricilla arrives, as pretty and charming as ever, Dick discovers that he’s not the only man vying for her attention. His best friend advises Dick that he has to win Pricilla’s heart, as well as her mother’s favor. Losing his heart has suddenly become very complicated.

A TASTE OF HOME, a captivating romance by Annette Lyon, we meet Claire Jennings, who’s on her way to spend Christmas with her family. As she rides the train with William Rhodes, who grew up across the street, memories of Christmases past flood her mind. He may be twenty-one now, but she can’t forget his torturous teasing from their school years. At the rail station, Claire discovers that her home is under quarantine because her little brother has measles. She's stuck in town, away from her family, on her favorite holiday. William stays behind with her, and as Christmas Day approaches and her homesickness deepens, she discovers that perhaps he has changed in more ways than one.

Becca Wilhite’s entrancing novella, MY MODERN GIRL, follows Margie, who lands her dream job as a clerk at Macy’s department store in New York City. Margie might be new in town, but she’s determined to succeed and prove to Henry that moving to the city was the right decision. As the Christmas season approaches, Margie realizes that being a “modern girl” might not be all she had dreamed of and Henry might have more to offer than she ever imagined.

REVIEW

FAIRY CHRISTMAS. I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  Kitty and Allenby were sweet characters, but the part that surprised me the most was the other romance that took place in the story.  I was focused on Kitty and her attempt to get Mr. Allenby to propose that I didn't realize that the other romance was happening although there are hints that point in that direction.  This is the kind of short story that I enjoy, with enough conflict to create a plot, but the emphasis is on the characters.

A CHRISTMAS PROMISE.  The details in this story about Ireland and the Irish I found quite amusing.  I found myself laughing out loud at several points in the story.  I also loved Sean and Maeve as they met and fell in love.  The part where Sean gets stuck in the mud and meets Maeve and her large Irish wolfhounds entertained me very much.  But the ending I found especially pleasing as it showcases the strength of a solid relationship that goes beyond just being in love, but true trust and commitment.

TWELVE MONTHS: Cory and Lucien both won me over immediately.  Sweet Cory who lost both her fiance and now her husband, who also had to live with knowing her husband was unfaithful to her and is reluctant to believe in a good love again.  Lucien, whose best friend was Cory's husband, is used to covering for Will but to marry his wife?  He's uncertain at first until he starts to get to know her and realizes how great she is and how much he likes her.  I especially enjoyed the musical parts where they played for each other.

A FEZZIWIG CHRISTMAS.  This is an interesting take on Ebenezer Scrooge story with the main character actually being his friend, Dick Wilkins.  Cilla is an interesting character as well as she looks forward to receiving suitors.  And Dick being already smitten was cute as he tried to figure out the best way to approach her.  The dance where Dick first becomes Cilla's rescuer is sweet as she seeks to avoid someone she discovers to her dismay is boring as all get out.  It was kind of sad reading about Ebenezer proposing to Belle knowing what would happen later, but all in all a sweet story.

A TASTE OF HOME.  The fun thing about this story was the way Claire started to see Will in a new way. After Will tormented her throughout her childhood she was reluctant to travel home to Utah with him, but it was better than traveling alone.  When she discovers that she can't go home because her little brother has the measles she is devastated.  Will decides this is his opportunity to show Claire how much he likes her by helping her face a lonely Christmas.  I love the selfless gesture that Will makes to help a disappointed Claire enjoy Christmas.

MY MODERN GIRL.  I think this one was my favorite of the six stories.  I fell for Henry almost immediately.  His willingness to let Margie go since that's what she wanted won me over as did his determination to prove to her his worthiness.  And then as Margie slowly realized that while she loved certain things about the city, there were things about home she missed, including Henry.  But the way Henry came through for her at the end really made me sigh happily.  This is what a short story romance should be.

Overall a wonderful set of short stories that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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